What's the best way to give your own flagging video distribution a shot in the arm? Buy the most popular one on the planet. Google announced today that it was buying the popular online video sharing service YouTube for a cool $1.65 billion dollars in stock -- really nice payday for a company that hasn't even turned two yet.

YouTube is one of the most popular websites on the planet, breaking into the top ten with sites like Yahoo, MySpace, and of course -- Google. Earlier this summer, it was reported that YouTube was serving upwards of 100 million videos a day, with 65,000 new ones uploaded by users every day. That number will surely climb as they have more money and server space available to them through Google. Google's own GoogleVideo service tried to compete with YouTube, adopting a similar look and feel, but they never could match the popularity of the upstart company. If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em.

Now, why should movie lovers pay attention? With the announcements of both Apple's iTunes movies, and Amazon's Unbox services, mainstream movie distribution on the web has become something to start thinking seriously about -- ya know, it's not just speculation around the water cooler anymore. While there are other sites on the web that offer movie downloads, both Apple and Amazon have been the first mainstream sites to offer them in an easy-to-understand and affordable format. Google seems to be setting the stage for their own effort in the same arena. Pirates and hackers have been ripping movies and pirating them on the web for years now, prompting the Motion Picture Association of America (or MPAA) to make their own public service announcements telling you that, yes, illegal downloading is bad. While YouTube has been more popular for short-form videos such as short home movie clips and television shows, as compression gets better and they establish a revenue model, you will almost certainly see full-length movies available for download through YouTube.

YouTube's tagline is "Broadcast Yourself," which has a very independent attitude and look. Wouldn't it be great if it became a place where independent filmmakers could have their films seen? A quick visit to YouTube will already let you see dozens of indie-film trailers. How much longer until we can see the whole thing?
CATEGORIES Movies, Cinematical